(and, what to do when you find a bat)

 

 

Uninvited Guests?

WHAT IS A PROBLEM BAT?
Although bats are extremely beneficial and help maintain balance in our delicate ecosystem, there are times when bats become a problem or nuisance to home or business owners. Bat colonies living in human structures may sometimes create unpleasant odors. Bats living in buildings do not cause structural damage nor do they chew on wires or wood. Chemical toxicants should never be used to solve bat problems. They are unnecessary and may create far worse problems since the chemicals may be dangerous to humans and their use may cause poisoned bats to fall where they die slowly and are more likely to come into contact with children or pets.

If you have found an individual bat or a couple of bats indoors or outside please see "Found A Bat?" below, or check our 'Local Help' Map for more information.

WHY DO BATS CHOOSE TO LIVE IN HUMAN STRUCTURES?
Human expansion has resulted in loss of habitat, forcing bats to look for alternative roosts in which to live and raise their young. Roof voids, attics, vacant buildings and barns all provide bats with warm, safe places to live.

WHY HIRE AN EXCLUSION SPECIALIST?
Bat work is often dangerous. Because of their ability to fly, bats usually choose to roost in areas of great height. Bats are wild animals and should only be handled by trained bat professionals. There are laws protecting bats, so use of pesticides and injuring or killing bats could result in fines.

If you have a colony of bats living in your building that you want to have excluded by a specialist, you need to know the following:

  • NEVER allow exclusions during the bat maternity season, which is normally from May 1 through August 30. (Bat exclusions should never be done during this period because flightless babies may be occupying the roost). Maternity seasons vary depending on location. If you are unaware of the maternity season in your part of the country or if you have an emergency situation, we may be able to provide you with some alternative solutions.
  • Choose a reputable company with known experience that is licensed and insured. (Ask for proof.)
  • Ask for references and check them.
  • Call your State Wildlife Department, local Chamber of Commerce and Better Business Bureau to see if the company has had any violations or complaints against them in the past.
  • Always get written proposals and guarantees. Guarantees should be good for at least 3 years.
  • Choose a company that provides full service: safe removal, odor control & cleanup, and permanent exclusion.
  • NEVER use a company that uses scare tactics (bats are filthy, carry disease, etc.) or pressure sales.
  • NEVER pay for the work in advance. Reputable companies generally require a small deposit.
  • Choose a company that uses safe, humane methods. NEVER hire a company that uses traps of any kind, chemicals, pesticides, foams or wire tubes.

We recommend exclusion by use of nets only. Exclusion nets are safe and acceptable only if mesh size is 1/8" or smaller and netting is installed properly.

 

 

 

  FOUND A BAT???
 

It is not uncommon for people to encounter a bat that has taken residence inside their house or fallen to the ground in their yard. With any wild animal, caution should be taken and the bat should not be touched. However, hysteria is not warranted since most bats are shy and retiring creatures. Furthermore, most North American bats are extremely small (one to three inches in length) and likely to be equally fearful of a very large, agitated human! Slow movements and a calm demeanor will keep the bat calm, and allow for a quicker return to the wild.

The first concern many people have about bats is rabies. Like most mammals, bats can contract rabies. However, according to Bat Conservation International, less than one half of one percent of bats actually contract the disease. (For more information, please see our Rabies Page.) In addition, bats that do contract rabies usually go off to die quietly. According to the Center for Disease Control it is not necessary to test a bat for rabies unless it has had physical contact with a human or a domestic pet. Because a bat's bite or scratch is very small, it could actually go unnoticed, so bats that are found in a room with a person who cannot reliably rule out physical contact (for example a sleeping person, a child, a mentally disabled person or an intoxicated person) will need to be tested. If you are bitten by a bat, IMMEDIATELY wash the wound with soap and water. If contact has occurred or is suspected call your personal physician or local health department immediately.

The information contained in this text regarding health and safety precautions may not be adequate for all individuals and situations. It is the reader's responsibility to comply with applicable laws and regulations.

   
 

A BAT INDOORS

A bat that is found indoors is most likely to be a crevice-dwelling species. These bats are often lost youngsters or migrating bats that do not know how to find their way outdoors. They may be roosting somewhere in a small part of your home, most likely up high, like a crawl space, attic or perhaps between the crawl space roof. Should you be lucky enough to have a bat stop by your house for a visit, be kind to this honored guest. Follow these steps to help your guest find it's way outdoors.

1. Close any doors you can to contain the bat in a single room or space.
2. Open all the doors and windows as wide as you can in that room or area.
3. Turn any OUTSIDE lights ON. This means porch lights etc.
4. Turn the lights IN THE ROOM OFF OR DOWN (dimmer switches are great for this).
5. Stay in the room, sit down, relax, and watch the bat. If you don't, you will not know if it actually left or has landed and is resting somewhere. DO NOT TRY TO GUIDE THE BAT WITH A BROOM, TENNIS RACKET, ETC. You do not need to cover your head, it does NOT want to get in your hair.
6. The bat, if allowed to, will navigate it's way out using the light OUTSIDE and the draft created by the open window/door. This may take 20 minutes or so.

If it has landed, it may be captured and released outside. It might be found behind curtains/drapes, pictures or upholstered furniture, on hanging cloths, or on house plants, to name a few places. Approach your visitor very slowly and quietly. NEVER TOUCH THE BAT with your bare hands. Gently place a small can or box over the bat, slide cardboard underneath, and release your visitor out of doors. If the bat does not fly away, or attempts to fly but seems unable to, it is likely that it has an injury or illness. It may be a disoriented juvenile, or it may be dehydrated or starved from being trapped indoors. If this is the case, keep the bat in a closed box or container (never a jar) and put it in a safe place that is free of children, pets, fire ants and other hazards.

It is not safe to attempt to care for a bat on your own - bats should only be cared for by trained, vaccinated individuals. Furthermore, in order to survive, bats in this condition may need injections of electrolytes in addition to specialized food and caging.
Call a local wildlife rehabilitator for assistance. If you need help locating a wildlife rehabilitator or bat care giver in your area, go to our Bat Assistance Map.

In order to prevent bats from getting into your living space, make sure you seal cracks, no matter how small, in the ceilings and walls. The most common entry point is a space between where a wall and the ceiling meet. Also seal along the sides of beams and corners where moldings meet. Check the chimney and the sides where the chimney meets the wall, as well as where the chimney comes through the ceiling. Sealing these cracks and any others you can find will help prevent the bats from getting confused and ending up in your living space.
When we say bats are getting confused, the light from your living space (a night light, TV set, reading or other light) is casting a beam of light into where the bats are roosting, via a crack. The bats see that beam of light and think it is the way to go outside, so they follow it and end up flying in your living space.

 

BATS ROOSTING ON A PORCH

This is a night roost where you may see bats or droppings on the outside of the building and insect body parts below the roost. This is a temporary resting place for bats while they eat and digest their food. To deter (if you must) a bat from roosting here, the area must be fitted with smooth, tight-fitting plastic, such as Plexiglas or other hard plastic, something the bats cannot crawl under or cling to.

 

 

A BAT OUTDOORS

Foliage-roosting bats have beautiful fur in shades of reds, yellows and tans (like dried leaves), or they have multicolored fur that is frosted with white. These bats are frequently found on the ground in the early summer when mothers are moving their young, or when they become grounded following bird attacks or storms. Occasionally, these bats panic and defend themselves when humans approach by spreading their wings in mock-attack and making loud hissing or clicking noises. Follow the steps given below to rescue a tree-roosting bat. If you feel unequipped to move the bat, proceed to step five.
Note: If the bat is a gray or brown color, it is probably a crevice-dwelling species. Crevice-dwelling bats found out of doors and grounded will need to be examined and cared for by a wildlife rehabilitator. Place the bat into a container using the method described in "A Bat Indoors" and proceed to step five.

  1. Make sure the bat is safe from predators. Have someone watch the bat so it is safe from domestic pets, fire ants and birds. If the bat remains quiet and still, proceed to step 2. If the bat panics as described above, proceed to step 5.
  2. Gently touch a small tree branch (two or three feet in length) to the bats feet. This should initiate a grab reflex, and the animal will frequently grip the branch with its toes. When you lift the branch you can inspect the bat (or mother bat with babies) for any injuries. If the infants are clinging to the mother and there are no apparent injuries, proceed with step 3. If injuries are detected, proceed to step 5.
  3. SLOWLY move the bats into the branches of a nearby tree. This must be done very carefully. A sudden move may cause a mother bat to fly off and abandon her young. Using a ladder, gently secure the branch into a tree in a spot where foliage and leaves conceal the bats, at a height of six or more feet from the ground, with a clearing below to enable the bat to take flight. Proceed to step 4.
  4. Monitor the area. Check the area the following morning. If the bat has remained in the same position overnight it may have an undetected injury or illness. If the mother bat is gone but her babies remain, the babies may have been abandoned. In either case, proceed to step 5.
  5. Call a local wildlife rehabilitator for assistance. If you need help locating a wildlife rehabilitator or bat worker in your area, go to our Bat Assistance Map.
 

BAT CAUGHT BY DOG OR CAT

Follow the previous instructions about how to safely capture a bat and transport the bat as soon as possible to the nearest wildlife rehabilitation organization in your area. Be prepared to tell them that the bat was dog/cat caught and whether or not the animal is vaccinated against rabies.

 

 
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